It was no April Fool’s joke: Will Smith announced on Friday, April 1, that he is resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars. In a public statement (via CNBC), the “King Richard” actor said that he will “fully accept any and all consequences for [his] conduct” in using physical violence against Chris Rock for his joke on Oscar night. He went on to acknowledge that the slap caused hurt that went beyond physical pain for Rock and many others.
“I betrayed the trust of the Academy,” Smith wrote. “I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.
“So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate,” the actor concluded. “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”